Cornwall possesses many megalithic chamber tombs, the last resting place of warriors from some four thousand years ago. These are probably the most fascinating of all Cornwall's many antiquities. Known variously as cairns, dolmens, quoits, tumuli and cromlech there are a particularly large number of them in and around the Lands End peninsular and on the Isles of Scilly, but among the most impressive are Trethevy Quoit, near Liskeard and Lanyon Quoit, situated between Penzance and Lands End. King Arthur himself is said to have used Lanyon Quoit as a dining table on the eve of his last battle. |
These megalithic tombs were burial chambers not for one but many, some accommodating twenty or more corpses. They were, in effect, stone charnel houses constructed of huge stone slabs which were then originally covered in earth to become burial mounds. Nature and local farmers have in many cases conspired to remove the mounds, to reveal these extraordinary monuments to Bronze Age folk. Throughout Cornwall, fields are dotted with tumuli, or burial mounds. Many have been destroyed over the centuries but hundreds still remain, merely grassy mounds to the naked eye but beneath them lie stone capped burial chambers, some containing no doubt ancient artefacts and ornate cremation urns from thousands of years ago.